[Screen It]


(1998) (Master P, A.J. Johnson) (R)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
Moderate None *Heavy Minor Moderate
Mild None Minor Extreme Extreme
Smoking Tense Family
Topics To
Talk About
Heavy Minor None Moderate Moderate

Comedy: Two con artists plan to become rich by selling "hot" cell phones, but their scheme backfires when the phones' signals get crossed and their angry customers come looking for the two men.
Black (MASTER P) and Blue (A.J. JOHNSON) are two con artists who run a street business selling fenced goods. After Black convinces a lost delivery man that he's the intended recipient of a truckload of cell phones, Black and Blue's dreams of becoming rich take off as they begin selling the "hot" phones. With the help of Lorraine (GRETCHEN PALMER), Black's girlfriend who works for a big cellular company and provides them with access numbers, the two instantly become successful. Yet, when the signals from their phones get crossed, their customers come looking for them, and the biggest is T-Lay (TOMMY LISTER, JR.), the massive henchman for a local crime boss. As Black and Blue try to avoid T-Lay and his thugs, they must also contend with a cellular fraud investigator and several undercover FBI agents, all of whom want to shut down the guys' illegal business.
If they like inner city, rap induced comedies, or are fans of Master P they just might. It's doubtful, however, that this film will be much of a draw.
For pervasive strong language, crude sexual humor, nudity, drug content and some violence.
Considering the illegal behavior (selling fenced goods, etc...) and massive profanity, it's doubtful many parents would consider any of the major characters as good role models.


OUR TAKE: 1 out of 10
The annals of Hollywood history are filled with young, would be filmmakers who've overcome many obstacles and beaten the long odds to direct movies. From Steven Spielberg, who impressed executives with a short film and then went on to be a studio favorite, to independent filmmaker John Sayles, who continuously works outside the studio system, many impressive cinematic visionaries have made their mark in varying ways in the cinema. Whether newcomer and hip hop artist Percy Miller -- excuse me, Master P -- who seems to be taking the Sayles approach, becomes a household name or fades into obscurity remains to be seen, but our advice is that he not give up his day job just yet.

As writer, performer and self-financier of this, his second feature, Master P hopes to make a big splash with his big screen debut. While his first effort, "I'm Bout It" went straight to video and sold several hundred thousand copies, the only splash "I Got The Hookup" is going to make is the "kerplunk" noise as it quickly sinks to the bottom of the box office sea. Suffering from the delusion that "I'm Bout It" suddenly made him a worthy filmmaker, and apparently having no one around him brave enough to truthfully comment on this film's quality or potential, he's delivered "da bomb" (and that's in the old sense -- not the current slang for something that's great).

Evidently trying to play like a full length version of skits often found on the now defunct TV show, "In Living Color," this film has neither the wit, charm, nor the talented performers to pull that off. That Wayans brothers et al. show worked mainly because their spoofs on African American stereotypes were not only hilarious, but they were also short. That's a problem that the film "Don't Be A Menace To South Central While Drinking Your Juice In The Hood" couldn't overcome. Yet that film, itself a mediocre production, looks like gold when compared with this travesty.

Master P's screenplay, about two guys who become the "hood's most wanted" after the frequencies of their stolen and now resold cell phones get crossed, might have seemed marginally funny on paper, but as executed on screen it's delivered D.O.A. Since the black "hood" stereotypes aren't pushed far enough, they play more like standard characteristics and end up being insulting instead of funny.

Of course, if you like stereotypical urban "comedy" -- a man who can't tell that a female prostitute is actually a man, the fact that everybody cusses up a storm, including old ladies -- as well as lame humor such as a porta-john being rolled down a hill or the fictitious cellular company being called Cellular Two (get it?), then maybe this film's right up your alley. Nearly everyone else, however, will find the plot flat and boring, the performances quite bad, and the overall effect extremely numbing to the brain.

I'll be the first to admit that I'm no actor, but at least I recognize that fact. Master P, suffering from a lack of lyrics to lip synch with, or some choreography to help him across the screen, comes off so wooden that he'd make a totem pole proud of its thespian abilities. The rest of the cast fares no better. A.J. Johnson ("The Players Club") is probably the brightest spot in this otherwise dim feature, but that's not saying much. Playing his character like a delinquent, but equally overeager version of the character Carlton Banks from the TV show, "The Fresh Prince of Bel- Air," Johnson provides a few meager laughs, but that's about it. And Tommy "Tiny" Lister ("Jackie Brown," "The Fifth Element") doesn't get to do much other than play his normal hulking and menacing character.

At least Master P can't be faulted for also trying to direct this feature, but it's doubtful it would have been any worse than what Michael Martin has delivered. Why music video directors think they can shift to feature films is beyond me, but this film is a testament as to why that practice should be stopped. Poorly constructed, unevenly paced, and featuring a wide array of bad acting, this wannabe urban caper spoof is about as bad they come, and should have gone straight to video instead of taking up space in the theaters. We give "I Got The Hook Up" a weak 1 out of 10.

Although most of the material in this film isn't intended to be taken at face value, the following is present. Profanity is extreme with nearly 200 "f" words (at least) and a wide assortment of others. We see several bare-breasted women in different scenes and many sexual references and jokes are made throughout the film. The two leads sell fenced goods and get into fights with some thugs (all done comically) and get away with all of that by the story's end (a bad example for impressionable kids). There's a little bit of drug use and drinking, and the film presents comically intended, but potentially offensive portrayals of senior citizens, mentally disabled people and African Americans in general. Due to all of that, we strongly suggest that you read through the material should you or someone in your home wish to see this film.

  • An old woman wants a younger man to get her some "reefer" (marijuana).
  • Black, Blue and a faux TV repairman have wine or champagne.
  • Later, the threesome has the same with several bare-breasted women.
  • People have drinks in a club.
  • Black and Blue have one of T-Lay's men pull out a huge joint that they wish to smoke before being killed. The man, however, smokes it and immediately hallucinates.
  • None.
  • Since this is played as a comedy spoof, the following isn't meant to be taken seriously. Even so, it does occur.
  • The film presents stereotypical inner city African American characters who cuss a lot, are sexually charged, and are involved in crime.
  • Black and Blue sell "hot" goods in their parking lot "shop."
  • Black convinces a delivery man that he's the man he's looking for, and accepts the delivery man's cell phones and then resells them on the street. Thus, not only do Black and Blue have both types of attitudes, but so do the people who buy the "hot" phones as well as Lorraine who helps set up the bogus accounts.
  • Black makes fun of Chinese culture in a Chinese restaurant and briefly talks with a stereotypical Chinese accent.
  • The film makes fun of mentally disabled people by showing several characters who make odd sounds, and have limited control over their mouths, speech, and arm movements.
  • The film pokes some fun at religious material as an extremely religious mother tells her overweight son that he can't go back for seconds on the communion wafers.
  • In the end, Black and Blue grab guns from the federal agents who have tried to arrest them, and then all of their customers chase these men down the street.
  • Although it's all played to be funny, a few viewers may find scenes listed under "Violence" as a little tense.
  • Handguns: Placed in a casket with a corpse by those attending a funeral.
  • Handguns: Aimed or fired at people in different scenes. See "Violence" for details.
  • Phrases: "Eat sh*t," "Sh*t for brains," "Hard on" and "Wet dream" (sexual), "Nigger" and "Bitch" (both often said), "Sorry ass," "Punk ass," "Crazy ass," "Pissed," "Nuts" (testicles), "Shut up" and "Screw ups."
  • Black and Blue sell fenced items and while they momentarily get into troubled and are chased, they finish in an unscathed fashion.
  • A woman spits into the coffin of a man who earlier hassled her.
  • Blue climbs out onto the front of a moving car as he tries to close the hood that's popped open.
  • Black and Blue push a porta-potty down a hill with T-Lay inside it.
  • None.
  • A few scenes have comically suspenseful music in them.
  • Although we couldn't understand most of the lyrics, we did hear enough uses of the "f" word (often used with mother) as well as the phrase "nigger" to give the category an extreme rating.
  • Due to crowd noise and a poor theater sound system (or bad audio mixing on the film), the following should be considered a minimum.
  • At least 197 "f" words (82 used with "mother" and 7 used sexually), 61 "s" words, 6 slang terms for male genitals (the "d" word along with "pr*ck" and "willy"), at least 4 slang terms for female genitals (the "p" word), 2 slang terms for breasts (the "t" word), 54 asses (1 used with "hole"), 24 damns, 8 hells, 1 S.O.B., and 13 uses of "G-damn," and 3 uses of "Jesus" as exclamations.
  • Due to crowd noise and a poor theater sound system (or bad audio mixing on the film), the following should be considered a minimum.
  • Blue makes some comments about "pumping" some women (and thrust his pelvis while doing so) and then Black and Blue make some sexual comments about two particular women.
  • A woman makes a comment about one of the guys getting a young woman "to suck your d*ck."
  • We hear some mild, but exaggerated sexual sounds coming from a backroom (from a TV repairman and a woman).
  • Lorraine asks Black, "Is that a cell phone in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?"
  • A male transvestite poses as a female hooker and comments about the needs of men who are just getting out of prison.
  • We see just part of the bottom of Lorraine's bare butt as she climbs on top of Black (we don't see anything else).
  • Lorraine shows some cleavage.
  • One of Lorraine's hidden compartments opens up to show several dildos, some whipping cream, and other sexual paraphernalia.
  • Black starts to undress Lorraine and we eventually see her in her bra and underwear (that's high cut and we see the side of her bare butt as well as some cleavage). Although we don't see anything else, it's implied that they have sex.
  • We see some women in skimpy bikinis that show a lot of cleavage.
  • There's some implied activity between a male transvestite (dressed as a female hooker) and a cell phone investigator (who doesn't realize she's a he) as we see him running out in one scene trying to pull up his pants.
  • We see several bare-breasted women (for a minute or so) with Black, Blue and the faux TV repairman, and also see a woman rubbing her breasts in that man's face.
  • Some cops rush into a house where they discover some sort of kinky sexual activity (the man is dressed up like a bat or something similar) before it really begins (there's no nudity).
  • Several skimpily dressed female performers dance in a club. One of them spreads her legs and thrusts her pelvis in a man's face. We then see a bare-breasted woman in the background and most of another's bare butt in her skimpy bottom.
  • A male transvestite takes another man's hand and puts it on his crotch, claiming that he has nothing to hide.
  • Black says that his next business venture is opening a sex line and that all Lorraine has to do is answer the phone.
  • A woman states that her sister lost her virginity to the guys' uncle.
  • Miscellaneous and background characters smoke.
  • None.
  • Although this is supposed to be a farcical comedy, the notion that the guys get away with their illegal activity at the end.
  • Being the sort of film that it is, the following isn't meant to be taken seriously, but it occurs nonetheless.
  • After a woman spit into a casket (and onto a man who previously hassled her), another woman steps up and punches the first. The two then get into a fistfight that then includes many other people.
  • Some people comically fight each other as they try to get to a locker supposedly holding a large sum of money.
  • We see the silhouette and hear the sound of someone being punched.
  • Several mentally disabled characters fire their handguns at Black and Blue.
  • T-Lay grabs Black and Blue's credit lady by the throat while his henchmen aim their guns at her while they steal the guys' money.
  • A person shoots at another person's feet.
  • Some gun shots are fired as a person is chased.
  • While pursuing Black and Blue, T-Lay punches a mentally disabled man. He then proceeds to kick Blue repeatedly. One of the guys then hits some of the "bad guys" in the crotch and more fighting continues (with people slammed into walls, kicked and punched). Black punches T-Lay, but is then hit on the back of the head with a bottle. Blue then hits the rest of the guys with a bat, including T-Lay.
  • Both Black and T-Lay hold their handguns, ready to shoot each other, but nothing happens.
  • A car and a van smash into each other during a car chase until the van finally turns over.
  • The guys drive into a man who then flies through the air (but isn't killed or wounded too badly).
  • A disgruntled customer aims a gun at Black, who quickly grabs the gun and fires it at that man's feet.
  • Black and Blue punch several of T-Lay's men.
  • Thinking a woman wouldn't dare shoot him with an old revolver, Blue sticks his butt out at her, and she promptly shoots it.

  • Reviewed May 21, 1998

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